As many as one in 10 people age 60 and over are affected by abuse and have a fourfold increased risk of nursing home admission, according to the latest “Public Policy & Aging Report” from The Gerontological Society of America (GSA).
The report argued that while the Elder Justice Act—signed into law with 2010’s Affordable Care Act—authorizes $777 million over four years to combat elder abuse by creating advisory bodies and funding adult protective services, it has actually “received no appropriations to date.”
Elder abuse encompasses mistreatment, neglect and exploitation of a physical, psychological or sexual nature, according to the GSA.
The policy report’s article author, Marie-Therese Connolly, JD, a 2011 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, analyzed the government agencies responsible for addressing elder abuse and found them to be lacking in “adequate coordination and direction.”
“It’s an issue where real federal leadership and a modest investment of resources—by Congress, the [Obama] administration, and private funders—could have a profound impact, mitigating the suffering of millions of people and saving billions of dollars,” Connolly said in a statement.
In the report, Connolly argues that elder abuse increases rates of mortality, injury and disease, as well as the risk for nursing home admission.
Other authors in the report show data that insists elder abuse remains “seriously under-addressed” by public policy and provide a recommended agenda for future research, education, training and advocacy.
U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) and U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) contributed introductory statements for the report.
The “Public Policy & Aging Report” is available for purchase from the GSA here.